More than 500 people found their way to a downtown parking lot on Friday for a pork burger barbecue and rally held to raise moral support for Alberta’s struggling hog farmers.

etty Cwiklewicz is served a pork burger by volunteer Joe van Gelderen at the free pork barbecue Friday.

More than 500 people found their way to a downtown parking lot on Friday for a pork burger barbecue and rally held to raise moral support for Alberta’s struggling hog farmers.

Probably half of them showed up for the free lunch, says feed supplier George Croome, who helped put the event together.

The rest showed up to show their support for farmers whose incomes have taken a nose dive since H1N1 flu was located late in April in a small herd near Rocky Mountain House, said Croome, who spoke to as many people as he could during the event.

Arnold and Anita Van Ginkel’s farm remains in quarantine and 500 of their 2,200 animals were humanely destroyed to make room for the new piglets being produced.

There is no indication so far of when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to lift the quarantine, provincial veterinarian Gerald Hauer said from his office in Edmonton.

The industry put on the barbecue to encourage consumers to keep eating pork and to buy lots of Alberta pork, said Croome.

Red Deer residents Anne and Larry Slinger said they came down specifically to show support for Alberta pork producers.

“I can’t believe this is going on. All because they called it swine flu, then you get the politics. That’s sad,” said Anne Slinger.

Further up the line, Rob Mearns said his appetite for pork has not been affected one bit as he plastered mustard and ketchup on his burger.

“Oh yeah, I’m a big fan of pork,” Mearns said with a grin as he closed his bun and prepared to chow down.

Alberta Pork delegate Peter Entz, manager of hog operations for the Long Pine Hutterite Colony, east of Stettler, said consumers need to know the food is safe and that only healthy animals are allowed into the food chain.

Entz said the drop in prices is costing farmers at least $20 per pig at a time when hog producers thought they were finally going to see some relief after three very lean years.

Losses have been so bad that even the Hutterite colonies, which account for about half of the hog production in Alberta, are now emptying their barns and switching to manufactured goods instead, said Entz.

Former hog producer Art Goelema, territory manager for Peak Swine genetics, said markets have gained strength in the last two weeks, but producers are still losing money.

“The industry needs government assistance, otherwise we could lose this whole industry.”

Goelema said it will take only one more small push for Alberta’s pork industry to collapse.


Just Posted

Castor man dies in crash

Thursday morning collision on Hwy 12

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

Most Read